Neighborhood Preservation Committee
The Neighborhood Preservation Committee advises the Board on matters affecting the quality and character of the neighborhood and enforcement of standards. Neighborhood Preservation (NP) consists of volunteers from the LHA membership and meets monthly on the first Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the LHA office (907 Underhills). The intent of NP is to work with homeowners to ensure that the uniqueness and desirability of the neighborhood that attracted all of us to reside here are well maintained for the benefit of all of us.
Tree work? Window replacement? Adding a bay window? Replacing part of that old fence? Below and in the links are highlights and hints, useful information, and answers to many questions.
Ideas to get you thinking about when to contact the Committee in your planning process:
The Committee has published the Association’s guidelines used for landscaping and structural changes, along with descriptions of such things as exterior divided lights in windows and tree pruning. Use the Table of Contents on page 2 to point you to the portion of interest:
REMODELING? REPLACING DRAFTY WINDOWS?
REMOVING a TREE?
MAJOR LANDSCAPING PROJECT?
UPGRADING the IVY-COVERED FENCE in the BACKYARD?
Yes? Your project likely needs prior approval by LHA. To help you get your application through the process quickly and easily, we have created this guide “Neighborhood Preservation Working Definitions & Explanations.” If you have questions on your project, please contact LHA’s Administrator at 510-451-7160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1917 our neighborhood has maintained our desired aesthetic quality and architectural integrity, due largely to following our governing documents. In part, they guide homeowners toward using their property in ways that likely enhance the desirability and character of adjacent properties and our neighborhood. The Declaration of Restrictions (CC&Rs) have given life to an organization designed and intended to serve the whole neighborhood in a very positive manner. The CC&Rs (found on our website and given to you when you purchased your home) are legally binding on all homeowners in LHA’s area.
All of these require prior written approval from LHA.
Some examples that need prior LHA approval are the following. This is not the exhaustive list.
• Any and all windows being replaced or added, regardless of where located on the exterior, or if putting in the same size and style
• Replacing or changing a front door, garage door
• Modifying a structure’s openings, e.g., size or location of any window or door
• Changing a roof line; installing solar panels
• Removing a tree
• Adding / remodeling a deck or balcony, addition
• Removing a carport; tearing down a garage
• Modifying a structure’s footprint
• Repairing or remodeling an existing illegal structure (one not previously approved by LHA)
• Repairing, changing, moving, installing a fence
• Landscape work that includes any hardscape over 3′ high, such as decorative walls, retaining walls, wall/fence hedge-like plantings on top
We work with you so you can achieve your desire and LHA does not have to levy fines on unapproved work. Please refer to your copies of the CC&Rs, this guide, Tree and Remodeling Applications, and the fine policy for more details.
WHAT is the NEIGHBORHOOD PRESERVATION COMMITTEE?
NP is one of several committees that work with the members of LHA to achieve the goals of the Association, specifically:
“Among the general functions of the Association are: …to enhance the quality and character of the neighborhood; and to ensure compliance and adherence to the Declaration of Restrictions, created for the benefit of the property, the residents, and the neighborhood as a whole.”
This really means the neighborhood trees (public and private), all structures and lots, and the parks and open spaces. The intent is to keep our houses and other structures in the same style as originally built. Doors, windows, decks, facades, roofs, balconies, garages and other structures should all be in keeping with the original design of the house. Windows with divided lights (small panes inside the bigger window frame) is the most common example and question. For example, all divided light window replacements/additions must have exterior dividers that protrude from the glass surface.
NP mainly concerns itself with these tree and building restrictions (written in lay terms here):
• Each Lot can have only one residential structure which can only be single family plus detached garage and usual outbuildings.
• Prior written approval of plans (building, landscaping, tree removal, new or remodeling) required before any work commences.
• Quality of construction, new or a modification, shall be substantially the same quality or better. Exterior surfaces will use materials and texture having a visual impact compatible with existing improvements or with the original building style.
• Fences and boundary walls can be no higher than 4 feet tall in front of the front plane of the house and 6 feet anywhere else on the Lot.
• Trees with a diameter of 12” at 4’ high cannot be removed without prior LHA approval.
Other important restrictions with which NP is concerned are that each Lot is free and clear of rubbish and litter and that weeds and grass are well mowed. (During droughts, mowed brown lawns are okay.) Also, trucks, RVs, trailers, and nonoperational vehicles cannot be parked on the street or driveway more than 24 hours. (These are City codes as well.)
LHA also has the right to stop any work that is in violation of its governing documents.
How does a Homeowner Work with NP? What is the Process?
• In general, any project that impacts the outside of your home or lot will need prior approval by LHA before you begin. In addition to this guide, you can read the official CC&Rs and Fine Schedule Policy and talk to the helpful LHA Administrator.
• Completed applications are due the day before the Committee meets to be on the agenda.
• You are not required to come to the NP meeting, but it can be helpful as you can answer questions on the spot and alleviate concerns. Architects and/or landscapers are welcome to join you. Applications are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis.
• At the end of the NP meeting, the Committee makes its determination for each application.
• Applications recommended by NP are then forwarded to the LHA Board for decision at their next normal meeting (usually 2 weeks later). The day after that Board meeting, the homeowner is notified of the decision. Only then can your project commence (if approved). DO NOT BEGIN YOUR PROJECT WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL.
We realize that special circumstances may require the process to run faster. LHA will try to accommodate requests that can’t wait due to health and safety issues such as wheelchair ramps or fallen and dangerous trees.
The documents are in PDF format, so you need Acrobat Reader to view and print it. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader you can download it here for FREE.